C P Gupta
25th November, every year, sprinkles salt on the ever-bleeding wounds of the living generation of Mirpur as on this very day in the year 1947, more than 18000 unarmed citizens of Mirpur which included men, women and innocent children, were brutally killed unprecedentedly by the Pakistani raiders in grave violation of International Human Rights Regulations. The only fault of the Mirpuris was that they had unitedly decided not to bow before the Pakistani raiders and ultimately they fought with them to protect the territory of Mirpur their Birth Place till they had the last bullet to fight with them.
The trouble started when on 15th August, 1947 India got independence from the undemocratically forced British Rule and the country was divided into two Dominions namely India and Pakistan. Mirpur the erstwhile District of Jammu and Kashmir State fell on the border line between the said two Dominions. On 27th October, 1947 Maharaja Hari Singh the then Ruler of the Jammu and Kashmir State, in accordance with the terms and conditions of the Independence Act acceded to India by virtue of which the State of Jammu and Kashmir became an integral part of India. This could not be digested by the Pakistan and decided to occupy the territory of District Mirpur by force in illegal manner. Accordingly, as a first step, the Pakistan Government in the first week of November , 1947 somehow managed to send a bag of pamphlets written in Urdu to the people of Mirpur in which it was written that Mirpur city was established by two saints namely Mir ( A Muslim Moulvi ) and Puri ( A Hindu Prohit ) which indicated Hindu -Muslim Unity on the basis of which the two communities Hindus and Muslims lived in Mirpur city for centuries like the two sons of the same father and lived peacefully like a joint family. They further indicated that the Pakistan Government would give special status to the Hindus of Mirpur if they allow the Pakistan to establish their Army pickets in the city of Mirpur amicably .For this, they suggested that the citizens of Mirpur as a gesture of goodwill should fly white flags on their houses in the city to indicate that the citizens of Mirpur agree to the proposal of Pakistan.
To think over the said proposal of the Government of Pakistan, the senior citizens of Mirpur which included old and elite people of the Mirpur city, held a meeting in which it was out rightly and unanimously decided that what may come they would not bow to the Pakistani raiders and they would protect the territory of Mirpur(their birth place ) even at the cost of their lives and would fight tooth and nail and they would not surrender themselves to raiders at any cost. The citizens of Mirpur even knew that the fighting ammunition which was available at that time with the police force stationed at Mirpur, by Maharaja Hari Singh, was very meager but we were confident that the Government of India would come to our rescue and send their army along with fighting ammunition well in time .Accordingly, it was decided that a befitting reply be conveyed to the Pakistani raiders. Thus in the evening of that very day , the citizens of Mirpur instead of white flags showed Red Flags from the top of their houses to give a clear indication that the citizens of Mirpur were ready to fight with the Pakistani raiders. This was followed by a number of air shots from the pickets of Mirpur city. Having dry reply from our side, the Pakistan Government made a secret agreement with the Pathan mercenaries to launch a joint attack on Mirpur. This agreement was known as “Zen and Zar Agreement ” according to which they mutually agreed that after occupying the city of Mirpur forcibly, the cash ,property and land would be the share of Pakistan and the captured women would be taken by the Pathan mercenaries.
At the mid night of 24th November, 1947 under the thick cover of fully armed artillery, the Pakistani raiders pounced upon the city of Mirpur by shelling and bursting of grenades which are normally used during an openly declared war .This was a sudden major attack on the southern side of the city which was spiritedly resisted by the depleting garrison force. Although the city pickets held tough resistance, the enemy came in wave after wave and after six hours of ceaseless fighting the defense line of the city was run over by seven Pathans. Alarmed by the most critical situation, the Flying Death Squads of the city youths engaged themselves madly in hand to hand fight with the infiltrators and killed all the seven Pathans at the cost of many young men of Mirpur Community. Though the people of Mirpur displayed tremendous grit and tenacity but the end seemed gloomy and dreadful because the operation brought the city stock of ammunition to nearly zero level. Further due to another irony of fate, the old modeled ‘Wireless Set ‘installed in Police Camp at Mirpur went technically out of order which led to disruption in the Radio link with the State Police Headquarters at Jammu and the Government of India (Delhi ). Despite war like situation created by the Pakistan , the then Government of India due to political rivalry between the then Prime Minister of India and the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir State, did not send army, though at that time the Indian Army was stationed at Jhangar which was at a distance of only a few miles from Mirpur.
In that critical situation, the State Administration headed by Wazir Wazarat of Mirpur decided clandestinely to retreat to Jammu by riding on their horses, leaving behind the hapless civil population of the city to face the wrath of the marauders. Immediately after the departure of the State Administration from the city, a fully armed Battalion of the Pakistan army assisted by Pathan raiders, at the stroke of 8.30 A.M. entered the city from all sides and by creating the terrible sounds from the war instruments pushed the city population into one corner of the city. The terrified men, women and children in utter chaos and confusion in the midst of heavy firing from all the sides and in choking atmosphere due to smoke coming out of the burning houses of the city scattered and marched in different groups in different directions without knowing where they were going . They were intercepted by the enemy at various places and like hungry wolves they unleashed terror and brutal savagery which made the whole area an open grave yard of dead bodies and where many uncounted serious wounded and uncared persons were battling for life in the whirl pools of their own blood. By the time of Sun- set the whole area from Mirpur city to the hill-foot was fully covered with dead bodies and critically serious injured persons. Ultimately, in the depleting evening, the Nature had to display through the darkness that grave yard was full and no more entry of any dead body was possible. That brought the temporary stay in the day atrocity.
This was not the end of misery of the people of Mirpur. At night of the same day at about 12 P.M. an ill-fated group of about 2,000 captured persons, was brought at a place known as”Kas Gumma” a colony of retired Muslim army soldiers. The enemy encircled the captives and asked them to surrender all the cash and gold items which they had with them. Thereafter, the male persons were asked to remove their clothes and lie down in a row. There was no option for them but to follow their instructions blindly. Thereafter they were tortured and killed brutallyin batches during the night. The women and girls were taken to unknown places by the Pathans as per the said “Zen and Zar Agreement with the Pakistan Government. Next day, the enemy drove another group of about 2000 persons and brought them to another village known as “Thithal”. They also met the same treatment as at’ Kas Gumma ‘ during day-light. Finally there was a massacre at Aibeg where about 4,000 captives were huddled up in an old deserted and unhygienic ruined Gurdwara building . In the beginning, about 50 to 100 young men were daily taken on pick and choose basis to kill them in the open fields. Besides, on average basis about 15 to 20 aged captives died every day due to sever cold weather condition, starvation, illness and mental shock. Out of the total population of 25,000 of Mirpur city, luckily or unluckily a group of about 3000 persons which included the author also, could find right way and after walking on bare feet for seven days and nights without food and water, reached Jammu in a very miserable condition which too is very difficult to be explained in words even now.
In the middle January, 1948, a team of ICRS (International Committee of Red Cross) arrived there and took charge of the Alibeg camp and supplied much needed food and medicines to the captives . On March 18, 1948 they managed to get the captives liberated in exchange of the same number of Muslims who were in India and willing to go to Pakistan. These liberated captives were not more than 1600 as the rest were either killed, died or kidnapped. The liberated persons were mostly aged and even unable to walk. They reached Amritsar (Punjab) where they were given warm reception by their relatives and general public.
In the memory of Mirpur Martyrs of 1947 a Shaheedi Samark was constructed by the Government in front of the main gate of the Government Medical College at Maheshpura Chowk Bakshinagar , Jammu. On 25th November every year, thousand of Mirpuris residing in Jammu city and its peripheral colonies assemble there and pay rich floral tributes to the martyrs of Mirpur who sacrificed their lives for their Mother land due to which the State of Jammu and Kashmir has remained an integral part of India. Like the last seventy one years A Big Ceremonial Salute is due to Martyrs of Mirpur on Monday the 25th Novemb er , 2019.
(The author Dy. Secretary (Rtd.) is the eye witness of the episode)
C P Gupta